Pas­toral­ists voice con­cern on leases

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Con­cerns his­toric re­forms to WA’s out­back will be out of reach for most peo­ple on the land have been raised by a group of or­gan­i­sa­tions rep­re­sent­ing the bush.

Pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion on the State Gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed re­forms to the range­lands of WA be­gan last week with a fo­rum in Perth and will con­tinue through the month.

The Part­ner­ship for the Out­back has made a sub­mis­sion to the Gov­ern­ment’s con­sul­ta­tion which in­cludes en­sur­ing sup­port for pas­toral­ists dur­ing the tran­si­tion to the pro­posed new lease, recog­ni­tion of pas­toral­ists who re­ha­bil­i­tate un­pro­duc­tive land, wider use of indigenous ranger groups and the po­ten­tial of car­bon farm­ing.

Austin Downs Sta­tion pas­toral­ist Tom Jack­son said he was con­cerned about smaller play­ers be­ing left be­hind by the re­forms.

“The re­form pro­gram does not ad­e­quately ad­dress the need for sup­port­ing small fam­ily busi­nesses in the range­lands, such as ours, to deal with the range­lands’ health, pro­duc­tiv­ity, cli­mate change and an­i­mal man­age­ment is­sues that we face,” he said.

“This is a rare chance to try to get our op­por­tu­ni­ties and busi­nesses back on track.”

Mr Jack­son said he was dis­ap­pointed many rec­om­men­da­tions made in the 2012 Wendy Dun­can re­view had not been in­cor­po­rated.

Part­ner­ship mem­ber Pew Char­i­ta­ble Trusts WA out­back man­ager David Macken­zie said the bush needed more peo­ple car­ing for it to en­sure it thrived.

“It’s im­por­tant that the Gov­ern­ment’s re­form doesn’t ne­glect the smaller play­ers on the land — fam­ily-run sta­tions who have a huge role to play in man­ag­ing WA’s out­back,” he said. Lands Min­is­ter Terry Red­man said the pro­posed range­lands lease would im­prove se­cu­rity of ten­ure, in­crease value of pas­toral leases and al­low for more di­verse land uses.

Mr Red­man said chang­ing the laws would en­cour­age more peo­ple to live in the range­lands.

It is an­tic­i­pated the amended Bill will be tabled by June 30.

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